The courier. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1894-1903, August 10, 1901, Page 2, Image 2

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THE COURIER.
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Although he has an assistant who
relieves him of most of his pedagogic
al duties except occasional lectures,
he writes very little except in his
summer vacations. He has a cottage
in the pine woods somewhere along
the New Eogland coast, and there
e-ery summer he gives himself up to
his work.
The verses written under the titles
of most cj the collection of "Sea
Pieces" are his own. lie has written
a good deal of verse from time to time
though he has published very little,
and is an omnivorous reader of verse,
French, German and English; his
catholic taste including pretty much
everything that is good from Heine,
whose form is flawless, to Walt Whit
man, who has r.o form at all.
I never heard of any recognized
verse that he did not like except
Swinburne and Stephen Phillips; and
he objects to these as "effeminate and
unsound."
He has written the words for some
of his own songs, though singers claim
that his songs are most of them want
ing in melody and practically un
singable. On the whole, he is an instrumental
writer rather than a song writer; and
is most successful when he makes the
instrument do his singiog; but no one
who has heard his exquisite "To a
Wild Rose" or "From an Indian Wig
wam'' can doubt his gift of melody.
The neroic and Tragic sonatas and
several of the Sea Pieces are certainly
the highest and strongest work that
any American has done in instru
mental composition; and there is very
little that is better in all contempo
rary music
He has not a trace of the florid or
exotic, governing all he writes by a
sort of Puritanic self-control and a
relentless melancholy that is but half
expressed. The New England con
srience, maybe, transmuted into art
at last and put behind the throne
where the Greeks set fate.
A New Drought Theory.
Will H. Price of La Cyuga, Kansas,
offers a new theory as to the cause of
the excessive drought prevailing in
Kansas and Missouri.
He believes that the weather con
ditions were brought about by the
great oil gusher opened at Beaumont
four months ago. just prior to the
beginning of the unprecedented hot
spell. He points to the fact that for
some days before the oil well could
be brought under control, it was send
ing into the air immense quantities
of oil that broke into spray, vaporized
and was distributed into that strata
of air where the rain clouds are usual
ly born, and that these fumes were
augmented by the continual opening
of new wells. This gas, he says, was
of slow combustion and contained an
immense quantity of heat, enveloped
the moisture in the air and prevented
it from uniting in sufficient mass to
be precipitated as rain.
This theory sounds well enough on
paper, but an unanswerable argu
ment to the contrary is that the heat
and the drought in Pennsylvania
during the past four months have
been more excessive than ever they
were in the fiercest throes of the oil
boom, and that the vapor from oil
wells in that state has been injurious
only to the foliage and vegetation
within the immediate vicinity of the
well, say within a radius of five miles
at most.
j J
Chase.
William Chase is another painter
whom the people love and whom the
Young Art Student affects to hold in
scorn because he has the tricks of
pleasing color, and because his pic
tures convey no lofty message. Mr.
Chase is not, indeed, a poet; much
less is he a seer. He is an admirable
colori-t, and he believes that there is
a sort of divinity in color itself. He
has at least marvellous facility and
craft, and it ill becomes young folk
with large ideals and scant technique
to belittle him. Technique is the
base of every art, and the noblest
sentiment may be shipwrecked in
that perilous voyage from the brain
to the hand. Pretty little girls dain
tily posed and painted with exquisite
refinement of color have as good a
right to exist in the catholic king
dom of art as the pale, primeval
shades of Puvis de Chavannes.
It is not unlikely that the Chicago
Art Institute, with its splendid col
lection of casts and pictures, has done
more for the people of the middle
west than any of the city's great in
dustries. Every farmer boy who goes
into the city on a freight train with
his father's cattle, and every young
merchant who goes into the city to
order his stock, takes a look at the
pictures. There are thousands of
people all over the prairies who have
seen their first and only good pictures
there. They select their favorites
and go back to see them year after
year. The men grow old and care
worn themselves, but they find that
these things of beauty are immortally
joy giving and immortally young.
You will find hundreds of merchants
and farmer boys all over Nebraska
and Kansas and Iowa who remember
Jules Breton's beautiful "Song of the
Lark," and perhaps the ugly little
peasant girl standing barefooted
among the wheat fields in the early
morning has taught some of these
people to hear the lark sing for them
selves. Some of the most appreciative art
criticisms 1 ever heard were made by
two sunbrowned Kansas boys as they
looked at George Inness' "Prairie
Fire," there in the Cyrus H. McCor
mick loan exhibition. Of all the
light houses along the Great Harbor,
there is none that throws its light so
far.
Chicago Art Institute.
Paderewski's theory of buying pic
tures and getting people to look at
them has been exemplified in at least
three cities in the United States:
New York, Chicago and Pittsburg.
As a result those three cities contain
nearly all the important private col
lections in the United States.
There is no reason why Pittsburg,
for instance, should display any great
er interest in art than Kansas City or
Denver or Omaha or San Francisco.
It is not a city of culture; the city is
entirely given over to manufacturing
industries, and the only standard of
success recognized is the pecuniary
standard. But one thing Carnegie
did: he bought pictures and got peo
ple to look at them.
Whether art itself can be propagat
ed by infusion or no, has not been
proven; but in some measure taste
can be.
There is no reason why the common
people of Chicago, the people who
read Marie Corelli and go to see "The
Pride of Jennico." should know any
more about pictures than the people
of any other big city, but they do.
Any stranger in the city who spends
much time about the Art Institute
must notice tfce comparatively en
lightened conversation of the people
who frequent the building on free
days.
For some reason the institution is
much nearer to the people of Chicago
than the Metropolitan art gallery is
to the people of New York. Perhaps
i because the spirit of castev is less
perceptible in western cities, and the
relations between employers and em
ployees are more cordial. When any
one of the Deerings or McCormicks
buys an Inness or a Corot, he exhibits
the picture in the Art Institute and
their workmen drop in to have a look
at it some Sunday and decide that
they could have done something bet
ter with the money, if it had been
theirs. The convenient and attrac
tive location of the building may also
have something to do with its pop
ularity. The collection of pictures is such
that it would be impossible to culti
vate a false or tlorid taste there.
With the exception of several Beau
gereaus. there is not a poor picture in
the gallery. Yet there are hundreds
of pictures there that the veriest
Philistine can admire, and, to a great
extent, appreciate; people who read
"Under Two Flags'' and enjoy comic
opera and ice cream soda.
The real fault of popular taste,
when we get down to the heart of
the matter, is that the people prefer
the pretty to the true. That is a
fault, certainly; but not so grave a
one as the young art student makes
it. Indeed, there are times when I
would take the philistine's word for a
picture, long belore I would the young
art student's; for the philistine is al
ways governed by moderation, and he
is always honest with himself.
There are certain painters whom
the philistine seem to get quite as
much pleasure from in his way as the
Art Student does in his. Take, for
instance Josef Israle's dutch interiors,
and especially his pictures of moth
ers and children. The simplicity and
directness of bis treatment and the
sombre tenderness of his coloring are
by no means lost on the philistine,
though he may not stop to reason
about it and may attribute all the
pleasure he experiences to the mere
beauty of the subject.
H. O. Tanner, the colored painter,
who handles Biblical subjects with
the power and conviction of the old
masters, is another favorite with the
people. I have seen country preach
ers and solemn old ladies in ill-fitting
black gloves stand before his
"Suicide of Judas" with visible emo
tion. There is something about Tanner's
work that makes the people and
places and life of Palestine real to us
as nothing else has ever done. The
Old Masters painted Italian Christs
and Dutch Marys and Spanish Jos
ephs; but this man paints the Orient,
not the Orient of the Midway and
bazaar, dressed up and tricked out for
a show, but the work-a-day Palestine,
where men plowed and sowed and
prayed.
There is a tradition that Biblical
subjects should be painted in a highly
decorative manner, and that Orien
talism means crimson and ultra
marine; but Mr. Tanner produces his
most Oriental effect with low colors.
He paints with a realism so unaffect
ed, a sympathy with the life of the
people that there seems to be an al
most national touch in his pictures.
There is something about his insist
ent use of the silvery gray of the
olives and the parched yellow clay
hills of Palestine that recalls Pierre
Loti's faculty of infusing absolute
personality into environment, if one
may compare two such different
mediums as prose and paint.
Another great favorite with the
philistine is gay master Rico, whose
name to the Young Art Student is as
the red rag to the bull. Now Master
Rico chooses to be pretty, and that in
the eye of the art student, is an un
pardonable sin. You will find a copy
of one of his Venetian scenes in every
picture loving home of the middie
class; very blue skies, a silvery canal,
white and red houses, bridge- and
gay gondolas, and in the foreground
the dear Lombard poplars, the gaje-t
and saddest of trees, rustling green
and silver in the sunlight. The ieo
ple like to think of Venice as a pretty
place, where people forget their trou
bles, and therefore they like Master
Rico's pictures better than tho-e of
greater painters than lie who have
darkened the canals of the city with
the shadows of her past.
The Young Art Student can hnd no
place in life for the dainty, the trivial
or the gay; but would have us live
in Gothic cathedrals and marry the
noble but angular ladies of Puvi? de
Chavannes. Rico is only a humininu'
bird, if you will, or a yellow roe in
June: but the philistine will stand by
him because he adds somewhat to the
gayety of life. v
Painters sometimes call Gari Mel
cherr a hard painter, but the peor-le
know his worth, and they feel the
poetry in his subjects, even if they
do not know the tricks of craft by
which he presents it.
Every woman who has ever carried
a baby will stop and smile at lu
young Dutch Mothers, with their
plump, uncorseted figures and their
pudgy little children with wooden
shoes on their feet.
The densest person cannot miss the
beautiful and homely sentiment in
"The Sailor and His Sweetheart."
The philistine is partial to fireside
scenes and domestic and sentimental
subjects generally. He knows that
sentiment is the most vital motive
in society, in his own life and in the
lives of his friends. That it wrecks
banks and controls the markets,
directly or indirectly, and he demanls
that the comings and goings and
courtingsand festivals and farewells
that make up the gladness and sad
ness of his life he somehow put into
art. He will accept it; even when it
is badly done for the sake of the sen
timent; but I believe that in time he
will prefer it well done. Do we not
all admit that the man who can make
these homely subjects into art is the
greatest of all artists, and that the
peasant folk of Millet are worthier a
man of genius than the ballet dancer
of Degas?
The Deterioration of a Composer.
No manager seems anxious to be
responsible for Miss Alice Nielsen
destiny for the coming season. Mr.
Pearley, Mr. Englander, Mr. Frohruan
have one after another declined that
honor. To admirers of Miss Nielsen's
kittenish art this may seem incom
prehensible; but the facts are that
managers have begun to realize that
the vogue of graceless angularity and
hoydenish coquetry must be brief, y
and that for some time Miss Niel-en
has been walking on very thin ice.
In view of Miss Nielsen's present
straits what will become of those
meritless compositions "The Fortune
Teller" and "The Singing Girl," and
of the income of their misguided com
poser, Mr. Victor Herbert?
Four years ago Victor Herbert went
to Pittsburg to conduct the syniphori
orchestra there. The managers of
the orchestra had received several
personal letters lrom Anton Seidel
stating that he considered Herbert
the most promising orchestra ma
terial among the young men of tin
country, and that no concert-meister
under him had ever shown such
marked ability to manage the per
sonnel of an orchestra and keep each
man up to his best work. At that
time Herbert was still one of the be.-t
concert 'cellists in America, had
written several admirable suites for
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